1. Be well Prepared.
Do your research while planning your trip via checking forums and local councils to ensure beach access for vehicles is permitted. If in doubt contact the local information center to gain additional information. They are also local to the area and can give a great insight to whats on offer around the area. Always ask if there are area's that should be avoided due to poor condition.
2. Do not Over Pack!
Remember to pack the bare essentials and not overload your 4x4. A heavily loaded 4x4 can make it much more difficult when traveling on sand. Reducing the overall weight can help to reduce the chances of becoming bogged. But do not forget to pack your recovery gear such as snap straps, shovel and max trax.
3. Know Your Clearance
If you have never been aware of your vehicles clearance now is the time to learn. Get out the tape measure and measure your total clearance from the lowest point on the vehicle and the ground. If you have a clearance of less than around 170-200 greatly increases your chances of bottoming out on the sand. If you have minimal clearance be ready for a long and tiring day filled with recoveries. If budget permits a good 2" lift will put you in good stead to reduce bottoming out on future beach trips.
4. Watch the Tide
When setting out on your trip it is always good to plan your trip around the tide. So ensure you are up to date with local tide times. It is good practice to have a tide chart packed in your vehicle at all times. Setting off on an outgoing high tide is the best as it should provide nice firm sand and plenty of time to reach your destination. Do not show off by driving too close to the waters edge as it could cost you your vehicle.
5. Adjust Tyre Pressures
When starting out 25PSI is a good place to start before you get onto the beach.
If you feel you need more traction lower it in small increments until you reach a happy medium. It is recommend by a number of sources to not exceed 18PSI.
When driving with a lower Tyre pressure make sure you familiarize yourself with the steering lag and change in braking response. Before you get back onto the bitumen remember to inflate your tyres back to the manufactureres recommendation.
6. Keep Moving
If you see a break in the surface conditions that may indicate loose sand, keep up your momentum. Make sure you choose the right gear heading into the soft sand as you do not want to be changing gears half way through. Enough forward momentum and constant power gives you an increased chance of getting through the soft stuff.
7. Be prepared for the Worst
At some stage your going to find yourself bogged and you better be prepared. Ensure that you have shovels, snatch straps, shackles, Tyre deflators, maxtrax and a compressor.
If you find yourself bogged, stop spinning the wheels immediately as this will dig you further down. Get out to inspect the situation and determine the best form of recovery.
Most of the time on sand maxtrax are the ideal solution. Before attempting your recovery clear away as much sand from in front and underneath the vehicle as possible. This is to help reduce resistance. If the maxtrax fail to do the business, connect a snatch strap and have a mate pull you out while maintaining momentum until you find firm sand.
8. Respect the Road Rules
Although it may feel like your free to drive at any speed road rules still apply. Follow the speed limit, wear your seatbelts and do not drink drive. Police do patrol the beaches in popular holiday destinations. Nothing ruins a holiday more than a hefty fine from the five o.
Have fun and Be Safe.
9. Be Respectful of Other Drivers
Many people on the beach are recreational drivers, so lets be respectful and courteous.
Give way to others where possible, park away from main tracks on the beach and be willing to lend a hand to those in need. Good Karma goes along way. Oh and be sure to take your rubbish home. There is nothing worse that to see our beautiful country covered in crap left behind by lazy people.
10. Sand Flags
If you are driving around areas with limited visibility up and over sand dunes it is good practice to connect sand flags to your vehicle. This will allow others to see you coming from a distance.
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